THE SEAFLOOR MARINE DEBRIS ON THE NORTH AND THE CENTRAL PART OF THE MOROCCAN ATLANTIC WATERS FROM TANGIER (35° N) TO SIDI IFNI (29° N): COMPOSITION, ABUNDANCE, SPATIAL DISTRIBUTION, SOURCES AND MOVEMENT
Keywords: marine ecosystem, Seafloor marine debris, trawling surveys, GIS, spatio-temporel pattern, hydrodynamic properties
Abstract. The accumulation of human debris in the marine ecosystem is one of the main hidden negative impacts of the economic and social development that humanity has witnessed after industrialization era which comes accompanied with the evolution of productions, the consumerism, as well as the emergence of the throw-away culture. In this paper, we studied the marine debris pollution on the seafloor of the North and Central Moroccan Atlantic waters from Tangier (35° N) to Sidi Ifni(29° N). The data were collected during two scientific trawling surveys conducted aboard the Charif Elidrissi Vessel in February–March 2015 and March 2018. The prospection operations allowed to collect a total of 329 kg of Seafloor Marine Debris (SMD) with an average abundance ranging between 16.84 ± 20 kg/km2 to 30.15 ± 43 kg/km2. The plastic materials represented the higher percentage of collected items with more than 40% followed by textile debris which mainly composed of knotted fishing ropes used by the longliners in the area. The analysis of SMD composition and their Spatio-temporal pattern combined with the environmental and socio-economic parameters of the prospected area using GIS tools showed that the majority of collected items comes from fishing activities, and the rest comes from the coastal anthropogenic activities. Then the analysis of hydrodynamic properties of the area using AVISO data showed that the horizontal current in area that controls the exchange of water from the coastal area to the ocean interior plays a major role in scattering debris in this area far from their origins to the open ocean.